Firstgreen battery swap electric skid steer promises 24 hour job sites

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Heavy equipment upstart Firstgreen was the first construction OEM to show off battery swap technology when it debuted its electric skid steer two years ago. Now, they’re in production – and the company says they can a job site running 24/7.

Formerly called Kovaco Electric, we first covered Firstgreen earlier this year when the company introduced its Elise CBL as “the world’s first cabinless, remotely operated electric skid steer.” The Elise 900 shown here is mechanically similar to the CBL – but seems much more ready for prime-time. Especially when you see it’s battery swap trick.

The way it works is deceptively simple. Basically, there’s one battery in an Elise 900 that’s doing work, while another battery is being charged. When the battery in working machine starts to run low, another Elise fitted with pallet forks pulls out the spent battery and wheels it over to the charger. Once there, the operator unplugs the “spare” battery and plugs in the spent battery, then reverses the operation with the skid steer.

This might be one of those cases where a picture is worth a thousand words, though – so here are five screen grabs from the company’s videos illustrating the process.

Battery swap electric construction equipment

While the Firstgreen battery swap process is quite a bit more operator-intensive and not nearly as slick-looking as similar concepts from NIO or Moog Construction’s ZQuip, it has the benefit of being ready to be put to work on a construction site today.

And, with enough spare batteries in your arsenal, that means you’ll be able to keep a quiet, emission-free job site running 24 hours a day.

“Battery power has really come a long way,” says Firstgreen’s Chief Operating Officer Marcus Suess, who added that his brand’s relatively noiseless, vibration-free electric equipment can be a better fit for some job sites than diesel.

Electrek’s Take

Firstgreen COO Marcus Suess recently sat down with Bryan Furnace on The Dirt podcast, where he very gingerly and professionally explained to their diesel-loving audience what Electrek readers, material handlers, port operators, and European equipment OEMs have seemingly known for years: electric isn’t just viable – in many cases, electric is better.

You can check out the full interview, below, and let us know if you think the company’s stone simple battery swap technology will be enough to give it a competitive edge in the rapidly expanding electric equipment space in the comments.

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